New Opportunities for Small Businesses to Partner with Berkeley Lab

Small businesses in the clean-energy sector have another opportunity to submit Requests for Assistance (RFA) for technical assistance from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and other U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) labs through the Small Business Vouchers (SBV) Pilot.

“The SBV pilot is a solution for small businesses to access the world-renowned expertise and instrumentation at Berkeley Lab and other DOE labs to help scale up their new clean technologies,” said Ramamoorthy Ramesh, Associate Lab Director for Berkeley Lab’s Energy Technologies Area. “Companies get to take advantage of high-tech resources that they may not have realized were available, whether it is collaborating with our researchers or gaining assistance from top engineers or facilities.”

The Molecular Foundry at Berkeley Lab (Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt, Berkeley Lab)

Johanna Wolfson, Technology-to-Market Director in the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) launched the pilot’s third round on Oct. 10 at South By Southwest Eco (SXSW Eco) in Austin, Texas. The pilot, part of EERE’s Lab Impact portfolio, aims to help small businesses bring next-generation clean energy technologies to market faster by giving them access to expertise and tools at national labs.

The SBV Pilot opened its first funding round in fall 2015 and launched its second last spring. Since then, nearly 800 applications have been reviewed, and 76 small businesses from 25 states have been awarded a total of $14.7 million in vouchers.

Businesses New to DOE Encouraged to Apply

For this third round, EERE strongly welcomes the chance to collaborate with small businesses that have little to no experience working with a DOE national laboratory.

Individual vouchers range from $50,000 to $300,000 per small business and can be used to perform collaborative research or access to lab instrumentation or facilities. Companies selected must also provide a 20 percent, in-kind cost share for completing voucher work.

Currently, Berkeley Lab has 12 small businesses completing more than $2 million in voucher work on projects in advanced manufacturing, bioenergy, buildings, fuel cells, geothermal energy, and vehicle technologies.

The SBV pilot gives our nation’s clean-tech small businesses the opportunity to take their innovative products to the next level. By supporting their growth, the U.S. helps these companies make a more meaningful impact on the economy and clean-energy sector.

Businesses interested in SBV funding must be U.S.-based and U.S.-owned, with no more than 500 fulltime employees worldwide. $12 million is available for vouchers in rounds three and four. Companies have until November 10 to submit RFAs.

To learn more about Berkeley Lab’s expertise and facilities such as FLEXLAB®, the Advanced Biofuels/Bioproducts Process Demonstration Unit (ABPDU), the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), Molecular Foundry, or the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP), and the process to submit a request for assistance visit www.SBV.org.

Leave a Reply